This is Pant’s first time as captain at an international level, but he has the experience to lead Delhi Capitals during the IPL. He has captained 30 games, won 17 and lost 13.
“It’s a great feeling, especially when you get an opportunity like this in your hometown,” said Pant, who plays cricket for Delhi. “There’s nothing bigger than this. It didn’t come in very good conditions, but I’ll try to make the best of it and give my 100%.
“I think so [having captained in the IPL] will help me a lot because if you keep doing the same thing over a period of time you tend to improve. I am someone who continues to learn from my mistakes and that is something that will help me in the days to come.”
Without going into details, Pant also hinted that India will be playing a different brand of cricket in the coming days. “As a team we have certain goals that we want to achieve and we are continuously working towards them,” he said. “At the end of the day we have the [T20] World Cup [in October-November] in mind, so we’re preparing for that. In the coming days you will see a lot of changes in the way we play cricket.”
The BCCI said in a release that both Rahul and Kuldeep would report to the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru, where the medical team “will further assess them and decide on the future course of treatment”. The board has not yet sought a replacement for the injured duo.
In the absence of Rahul, Ruturaj Gaikwad and Ishan Kishan are likely to open the innings for India. In the spin department, the team management has options in the form of Axar Patel and Ravi Bishnoi, to pair up with Yuzvendra Chahal.
The timing of Rahul’s injury will be a matter of concern for both him and the team management as the England tour – which will begin with the one-off test – is just around the corner. Rahul is part of the squad for that Test, which will be played in Birmingham from July 1-5, and will be part of the World Test Championship. The Test is also part of the five-match Pataudi Trophy, which was cut short after the first four Tests last year due to a Covid-19 situation. Rahul was India’s second-highest run getter in those four Tests with 315 runs in eight innings, behind only Rohit’s total of 368.
Selection: Rishabh Pant (capt, week), Hardik Pandya (vice capt), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ishan Kishan, Deepak Hooda, Shreyas Iyer, Dinesh Karthik, Venkatesh Iyer, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Ravi Bishnoi, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Arshdeephal Singh, Umran Malik